13 THINGS to Love About BATMAN After 50 Years of Reading Comics

Columnist JIM BEARD Bat-waxes rhapsodically on the Caped Crusader’s 84th anniversary…

Hey, it’s Batman’s birthday! The Darknight Detective debuted in (as you know) Detective Comics #27, which (as you may or may not know) was released March 30, 1939. This year, we have two groovy features for you: The one below and a companion piece by our pal Chris Franklin. Click here to check that one out because I dare say it might be the best thing Chris has ever written for us — which is saying something. Right on. — Dan


I got my first Batman comic 50 years ago this year.

There were comics sitting around the house before me, one bought for my older siblings during the ’66 Batmania craze, and even a few from when my father was a teenager, but until January of 1973, none of them were purchased for me. That all changed when my father bought a copy of DC 100-Page Super Spectacular #DC-14 just for me. And that baby was, despite a few other characters in it, all Batman.

Nick Cardy

I often say the ’66 TV series was what made me a Batman fan, and that’s still probably true (I had to have seen it before 1973, surely), but the comics etched that love for the Bat indelibly in my heart, and not to get to mushy about it, it’s a love affair that has never dimmed over these past 50 years.

Fifty… ZOWIE! Almost hard to believe. Most of my life.

Here’s a list I put together of 13 things that jump out at me as the prime reasons I’m a fan. I resisted ranking them and just put them down here as they occurred to me. I guess a psychologist may opine that this order is how they really matter to me, but I’m not going to die on that hill. Suffice to say, these are 13 REASONS I LOVE BATMAN:

The Look. It all comes down to the visual for me. I’ve been an artist since early childhood, and Batman’s overall design—the cowl, the cape, the belt, the insignia—is still one of the greatest and most effective in all of comics history.

David Mazzucchelli

The Cool. From 1939 to today, Batman’s coolness is a major force behind why I love him. It’s not just the strongman pose; it’s more the “I can do anything—I’m Batman” attitude that attracts me.

Bob Kane, Detective Comics #27

The Trappings. Batman’s cool enough as just himself, but when you add in the car, the computers, the aircraft, the utility belt, and, most importantly to me, the cave, you have an all-around special superhero.

Frank Springer, Batman #203

The Adaptability. By this I mean the character’s amazing ability to adapt to any kind of story. Just look over the past 80-plus years of Batman comics and you’ll see what I mean. You can place him in any situation, locale, whatever, and he’ll still be Batman.

Sheldon Moldoff

The Robins. Yeah, I use the plural. As much as I love Batman, I love Robin almost as much. And not just Dick Grayson, but also Damian Wayne, Tim Drake and a few others. I dig the costume and I dig the dichotomy between the two roles. And when they get together — BIFF!

Carmine Infantino and Joe Giella

The Offshoots. A rich Bat-verse has always been a draw for me. Since early on, I have loved Batwoman (original and later), Bat-Girl, Batgirl, Bat-Hound, Batwing, etc. But not Bat-Mite. I have never loved Bat-Mite.

Infantino and Murphy Anderson

The Show. Sorry, old chums, but when you get me, you get Adam West. The 1966 show is still the very best adaptation of the comics to that point in time. It is and always will be. And that’s a hill I will die on.

The Origin. Still significant after all this time, the origin is simple and moving, even before the mid-’80s. And remember, originally it wasn’t all about vengeance. It was about making sure that tragedy didn’t have to happen to others, not if Batman could do something about it.

Written by Bill Finger, art by Bob Kane and Sheldon Moldoff

The Villains. Does Batman still have the best and greatest rogues gallery of all time? Yes, yes, he does. It’s all about shtick, too. Don’t let anyone tell you it isn’t. They’re a gimmicky crowd and that’s why I love them.

Jim Aparo, Detective Comics #484

The Butler. I love Alfred. That’s it, that’s the meme.

Batman: The Animnated Series

The Morrison. Hear me out: Grant Morrison is one of — if not the greatest — Bat-scribes since 1939. He had a crazy idea: All Eras Matter. I love that. I wish other writers would take that into their hearts and understand it.

Chris Burnham art

The Spot. If I was tortured to tell you what my Batman “sweet spot” is in terms of eras, I’d have to come right down where I lived— the early 1970s. There’s something magical about comics when you’re 7 or 8.

Neal Adams

The Artists. To continue the love from the previous point, for me it’s Dick Sprang and Carmine Infantino and Irv Novick and Jim Aparo and Neal Adams… man, what a lucky Batman he was.

Batman: Cover to Cover


— The TOP 13 Most Iconic BATMAN AND ROBIN Images — RANKED. Click here.


When JIM BEARD’s not editing and publishing through his two houses, Flinch Books and Becky Books, he’s pounding out adventure fiction with both original and licensed characters. In fact, he’s put words in the mouths of Luke Skywalker, Superman, Fox Mulder, Carl Kolchak, Peter Venkman and the Green Hornet… and lived to tell about it. His latest pop culture non-fiction tome is The Old Origin Changeth!, available here.

Author: Dan Greenfield

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  1. Batman is my fave too. Bob Kane & Bill Finger both loved Chester Gould’ Dick Tracy villians like Flat Top, Mummbles Stooge Viller, ect. They wanted classic villians like that to for Batman & they did it!…haha

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  2. Jim, I certainly agree with much of your 13 here. My first BATMAN comic was issue #247, “Deadly New Year”. I’m not a fan of the multiple Robins…to me there are so many now that it has become the “jumped the shark” moment for me.

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  3. Amen, right down the line. My first superhero drawing was Batman. Adam West is the best. Great work Jim!


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  4. Well said, Old Chum! I was nodding the entire time I read this! Well, except for liking Damian, and of course Morrison released him on the world, so we have to slightly disagree. But that’s me, and that’s okay! More power to all the things you love about Batman. There’s plenty in the character’s history for fans to dig, or not dig, and we can all agree, he’s one of the best fictional characters of all time. It’s very obvious how much you care for the character, and I can relate!

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